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Keepin’ It Kayfabe: Wrestling marriages
Angelo Dawkins, Bianca Belair, and Montez Ford (pictured) defeated the trio of Angel Garza, Zelina Vega, and Austin Theory in Belair's Monday Night Raw debut on April 7, 2020.

Pro Wrestling

Keepin’ It Kayfabe: Wrestling marriages

Judging by WWE history, Montez Ford and Bianca Belair should be worried about mixing business and pleasure.

A lot of fans were overjoyed when Bianca Belair came out to protect her husband, Montez Ford, and tag partner Angelo Dawkins from a raging Zelina Vega at WrestleMania 36. And why not? Ford and Belair are a cute couple, and with Belair’s amazing feats of strength in NXT, she’s sure to be an asset to the boys who always want the smoke.

However, when Montez Ford proclaims that he wants said smoke, he likely doesn’t expect it to come from within his own home.

The history of professional wrestling has shown countless times that working alongside your wife will go south more often than not. Ask Mike Kanellis and Rusev all about that, and in a few weeks’ time, I’m sure Bobby Lashley share a similar sentiment. Heck, even in AEW this week, Allie spent all of Dynamite flirting with QT Marshall across the ring from her husband, Pepper “The Blade” Parks.

It’d be disingenuous to suggest that it’s always bad times, though — just look at the success of The Miz and Maryse, and to an extent Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

So, for fairness’ sake, let’s take a moment to dive into wrestling marriages and the successes — and total failures — found within.

The Good

Wrestling marraiges - Miz and Maryse
The Miz and Maryse on their way to host Miz TV on the April 30, 2017, edition of Monday Night Raw. WWE

Let’s start with a positive: Maryse helped The Miz become Intercontinental Champion as soon as she returned to WWE on the Raw after WrestleMania 32.

The Miz has actually seen a lot of success since his wife’s 2016 comeback. He won the Intercontinental Championship four times with Maryse by his side, bringing the then-white strap back to prominence while earning both the second most reigns and second most days spent with the belt in company history.

Though the pair did lose a tag team match at WrestleMania 33 to John Cena and Nikki Bella, they got the moral victory in the end when Cena and Bella’s relationship really did blow up (which we’ll talk about more later). The Miz is still on Miz and Mrs. Cena is less present on Total Bellas.

While Miz has had other sidekicks in The Miztourage, they were undeniably less effective. It’s with his wife in his corner that he feels the most complete as a singles division competitor. As annoying as they can be, it appears that they really are the “it couple” of WWE.

Cody and Brandi Rhodes

The closest comparison to this couple would be AEW’s Cody and Brandi Rhodes. Generally speaking, they work. Brandi was key to Cody’s victory over Dustin Rhodes at Double or Nothing 2019 and has been an asset in bouts around the world against Darby Allin, Kota Ibushi, and Nick Aldis.

It’s also really sweet when Cody throws his weight belt at Brandi when she’s ring announcing, and it warms my heart to see Brandi managing brother-in-law Dustin Rhodes.

But to that point, their relationship feels a little less special when Cody has a billion managers who work just as well. Cody beat Shawn Spears at All Out 2019 with MJF at ringside and Lance Archer at Double or Nothing 2020 with Arn Anderson’s help. Brandi’s sole AEW singles match and victory saw her seconded by Awesome Kong when she beat Allie at Fight for the Fallen 2019.

Speaking of which, it sure seemed like Cody was out of the loop when Brandi started a voodoo cult. What kind of communication does that imply in their home life?

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

We’re still in the positive section, so let’s try and look at WWE’s most successful couple, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

It’s a standard win-win relationship. Triple H gets promoted from wrestler to COO in 2011 and becomes head of NXT in 2012. Stephanie gets to dress up with Hunter at every WrestleMania when he wants to be a biker dad or skull-faced king. Totally fair.

But also, they got married at a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas when Stephanie was passed out. So there’s that.

Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae

Okay, forget the McMahon-Helmsleys. The Garganos are where it’s at: Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae. Candice, after years of watching on the outside, finally bit the bullet and helped her slowly deranging husband defeat his arch enemy in Tommaso Ciampa. They haven’t really done much else yet, and looking at the size of Keith Lee and the toughness of Mia Yim, it’s not looking good going forward.

But beating Ciampa has to be enough to carry this positive side of wrestling marriages, right?

Not quite.

The Bad

Bobby Lashley and Lana
Lana and Bobby Lashley sharing a kiss over the battered body of Rusev on the Oct. 28, 2019, edition of Monday Night Raw. WWE

In just the last year alone: Drake Maverick’s wedding was ruined when he brought the 24/7 Championship to the altar; a pregnant Maria Kanellis berated her husband across two weekly shows and forced him to give her the 24/7 Championship; and Lana cheated on Rusev, potentially twice over.

In fact, Lana is the anti-Maryse in this regard. Lana was by Rusev’s side for all three of his United States Championship wins (a stat that actually surprised me), but while the two of them were successful at their best, was it worth the worst of it?

During their time together, Lana left him for Dolph Ziggler (though Rusev was also with Summer Rae at the time); was rumored to have been with The Rock, Liv Morgan, and Aiden English — the only one to be fully disproven — and finally divorced him before getting remarried to Bobby Lashley.

Edge and Vickie Guerrero

Recent returnee Edge is no stranger to deceitful marriages himself, as ex-wife Vickie Guerrero cheated on him with The Big Show on the road to WrestleMania 25. In the years following this revelation, Vickie made Edge’s life a nightmare alongside new boyfriend Dolph Ziggler — who is arguably worse than Lana looking at his history.

There have been plenty of marriages that never even happened, too. Let’s pour one out for the failed relationships of AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan, Matt Hardy and Lita, Kane and Lita, Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo, Goldust and Aksana, and of course John Cena and Nikki Bella.

Speaking of Bellas, you’d likely assume that Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan work well, but just a reminder: Brie got kidnapped by Kane right after Bryan won at ‘Mania, leading to the very match that led him to forfeit his newly coveted WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Looking for a stable marriage between a wrestler and non-wrestler? Rick Rude will paint her face on his tights, Bobby Roode will outright try to sleep with her, or Samoa Joe will visit her home and shout her name for weeks afterwards. Actually, Joe is a repeat offender, calling Renee Young out for her marriage to Dean Ambrose even though the couple rarely interacted on TV.

What about the most high-profile wrestling couple, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth? Though they had their ups and downs — the whole “Hulk Hogan jealousy” thing and Macho’s stint with Sherri Martel as two standouts — they still had a lovely proposal and wedding after all of that. They were the “Match Made In Heaven,” for Pete’s sake!

Ric Flair and Miss Elizabeth

But then there’s the Dirtiest Player in the Game, someone who Lana and Ziggler could only dream of being: Ric Flair.

An ex-boyfriend doesn’t really mean anything, so Flair’s boasts of “She was mine before she was yours!” don’t detract from Macho Man and Elizabeth’s relationship. No, it was her betrayal at WCW Superbrawl VI that seals that deal, as she joined the side of Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen.

Savage and Elizabeth got back together while in the nWo a year later, but by June 1998, the pair were separated once more during the nWo Hollywood/Wolfpac split. This would be the end of their relationship, and thus, the end of a divine duo.

What does this mean for the Match Made in NXT?

Keepin’ It Kayfabe: Wrestling marriages
Naomi and Jimmy Uso (pictured) bust a rhyme during a rap battle with R-Truth and Carmella before a match in Season 2 of WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge on Nov. 6, 2018. WWE

The Conclusion

But, of course, history isn’t entirely against Ford and Belair. As Ford is the married half of a tag team, I would say the closest comparison for Belair and the Street Profits would appear to be the relationship between Naomi and The Usos.

Naomi and The Usos have been incredibly successful on their own for the past few years, and when Mandy Rose tried to cause a split between Naomi and husband Jimmy Uso, the couple used this opportunity to get Mandy alone for a hotel room beatdown — something Rusev and Lana could only do when the intruding party was Enzo Amore.

Enzo Amore is no Mandy Rose.

My advice to the Street Profits and Bianca Belair is to strive for success, but mostly keep away from one another. And also, stay away from Samoa Joe and Dolph Ziggler.

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